March 26th, 2008
09:40 AM ET
14 years ago

More Clinton hints that pledged delegates are up for grabs

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton said again that pledged delegates had no duty to vote based on election results."] (CNN) — For the second time in three days, Hillary Clinton has told reporters that the "pledged" delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results - an idea that has been floated by her or a campaign surrogate several times this month.

“…As you know so well, Mark, every delegate with very few exceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose,” she told Time’s Mark Halperin in an interview published Wednesday. “We talk a lot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected to exercise independent judgment.”

The remarks echoed her Monday comments to the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News. "And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged,” she said Monday. “You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."

Clinton also made similar comments in a Newsweek interview published two weeks ago.

Earlier this month, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes first raised the prospect that pledged delegates were not legally bound to vote as election results indicate – an idea that has drawn sharp criticism from supporters of rival Barack Obama. "Despite repeated denials, the Clinton campaign has again admitted that they will go to any length to win," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said again Wednesday.

The Clinton campaign has said that they had not been planning to try to actively convince the Illinois senator's pledged delegates to switch sides, and would not do so in the future – but on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ickes defended Clinton’s Monday remarks and repeated his view that pledged delegates were free to switch their allegiance at any time.

“I think what Mrs. Clinton was trying to make clear was that no delegate is required by party rules to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged,” said Ickes. “I mean obviously circumstances can change, and people's minds can change about the viability of a particular candidate and that's permitted now under our rules ever since the 1980 convention.”

He added that although the rules permitted them to campaign pledged delegates to switch sides, they had not engaged in such an effort.

Barack Obama leads Clinton among all Democratic delegates, 1,622 to 1,485, in the latest CNN count. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 1,413 to 1,242.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. jujub

    Learn math Hillary and stop trying to change the rules.

    March 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Carlo

    Will the spin EVER end with these people? These are the same people who are pleading for the DNC and Obama to not "disenfranchise" voters, but they are willing to accept pledged delegate support from delegate who represent the will of the people. I expect to see full coverage on this newest doublespeak and out right lies.

    March 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. B. Gorman, New Orleans, LA

    This is a very cheap weapon on the part of Senator Clinton. I understand why she is doing this though, numerically she cannot win this election by means of delegate votes or popular votes. Her only conceivable option is to, in effect, steal delegates already in support of Senator Obama. This would cause an even greater divide in the Democratic party.

    March 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. anon

    She is cookin' up something!!! I can feel it!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Eric Z

    And if the Superdelegates take away the vote of the Democratic Party with backroom shinanigans, say hello to 4 more years of McBush.

    I guess Nader was right. Dems have to hang it up if we can't beat the Republicans this year.

    March 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. monica

    Hillary, you disgust me.

    March 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Geena

    Then why do we bother voting at all, if it all goes to waste with the pledged delegates. You think you'd have uproar if the superdelegates upturn the vote.

    Imagine if the voted delegates overturn it too! The dems would lose for sure.

    March 26, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. jp/michigan

    Well, what she stated is true. They can change their vote at the convention, even though majority have never done that, but if they feel the candidate they are to support is not electable, they may change their vote.

    March 26, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Robin

    Either me or no Democtrat...that what Mrs. Clinton means.

    March 26, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. Rose

    Anything to win, right Hillary? Doesn't matter who the people voted for. I'm pretty sure that if HRC had more pledged delegates, she would be touting the importance of abiding by the will of the American voters. Yuck.

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Slept in Church for 20 years

    Obama keeps talking about playing by the rules....

    Guess What....

    Hillary is right....lover her or hate her... delegates are free to vote for whomever they choose.

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Anyone But Hillary

    Quick! Someone give me another straw to grasp!
    I'm desperate here!

    It's over. See ya Hill. Quit trying to destroy the Democratic Party for your own personal gain. You're losing. You've been losing. You've lost.

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Spirit of America

    The political picture is now crystal clear for anyone with eyes not blinded by dogma. Obama cannot win the general election. Hillary can, and if nominated, will win the general election by a landslide. After having the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 stolen in Florida and Ohio, respectively, the Democrats will snatch an overwhelming defeat from the jaws of victory with an Obama nomination. Delegates cannot be such fools, can they?

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Tim

    HAH. So only Michigan and Florida's delegates should go the way of the primary, eh Hill? Try to steal the rest of them anyway you can is that it? Such a hypocrite and a liar.

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Nathan

    I think Hillary is absolutely right about this.
    And if any of her pledged delegates decide to wizen up and vote for Obama, I welcome them to do so.

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Irma in North Carolina

    I am sure that Hillary will do all the pleading she can get by with to get the superdelegates to switch over to her side. She should face up to it, that there is no other way she can win this election.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Robin

    How else would you expect her to respond? It is of no relevance to the campaign today. I am not EVEN a Clinton fan. Dislike and distrust her, but I have no interest in that topic and can certainly understand why Chelsea doesn't want to hear about it anymore.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Aaron

    Think she would be bringing this up if she were in the lead? Of course not. She's got it in her head that she deserves the WH so much that she is willing to stoop to any level to get it, including ignoring the results of the primaries and the voters.

    Ignoring the results of the vote and ignoring the voters voices? Gee, that sounds an awful lot like the man we have in office now doesn't it?

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. michael, ny

    Uhmmm, what the meaning of "is" is?

    Typical of the clintons, change or redefine the rules until I get elected.

    Someone in the DNC needs to come out there and tell this lady to stop it.

    Enough already.

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. Tiffany

    She will stop at nothing, this is just ridiculous. Why do we even have an election if the delegates don't have to follow the election results?!? Her tactics are really just getting out of control!

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  21. mispoke

    I wonder, what will she say when all her pledged delegates shift for OBAMA.

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Brian

    They're not up for grabs you blindly ambitious monster. Get out of the race!!! The country deserves better than what Billary Clinton can possible give us!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. real dem

    Hillary Clinton is absolutely correct.

    They can vote for whomever they choose.

    And by August, the only delegate she will end up getting for herself will probably be her husband.

    March 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. sue


    She will destroy everything...

    March 26, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Adam

    I wonder, does she realize that this can go both ways? For as many Obama delegates who would want to switch to Hillary, there has got to be just as many willing to go in the opposite direction. I 'applaude' her attempt to subvert the will of the voters, I just hope someone in her campaign realizes that a sword has two edges, not just the one.

    March 26, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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